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Public health experts warn that budget cuts could jeopardize U.S. health

September 26, 2012

slow growthThe American Public Health Association (APHA) is warning that budget cuts set to take effect in January of next year will compromise efforts to protect American’s health by slashing funding for food safety, environmental protection and immunization and family planning programs.

APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), said the report released recently by the White House Office of Management and Budget on the Sequestration Transparency Act showed that the across-the-board cuts would have a drastic affect on critical public health programs.

“Our current public health system is already a patchwork of services, programs and regulatory authorities that is neither designed for optimal performance nor funded for sustainability and success,” said Benjamin. “At a time when budget shortfalls are forcing even tighter restraints, federal, state and local health departments are being asked to do more with less. The capacity for health professionals to prevent and respond to some of today’s pressing health challenges or provide basic public health and preventive services is in grave danger. We simply cannot afford these deep and painful cuts.

“These cuts signify a weak commitment on the part of our elected officials to assure the future health of our nation. Not only is it a misguided solution to deficit reduction, the sequester cuts could squander some of the recent advances we’ve made in chronic disease prevention, emergency preparedness and infectious disease control. APHA strongly opposes these cuts and urges Congress to instead develop a bipartisan balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not make additional cuts to nondefense discretionary programs and instead prioritizes public health funding.”

Founded in 1872, the APHA represents public health professionals and aims to protect Americans from preventable, serious health threats and to assure the accessibility of community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services.

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